Terence Swafford

Uniform Essay

by Terence Swafford

While I’ve always claimed to have no fashion sense, I have, at times, experimented with constructing my own style statements. In a few, punctuated periods I allowed my personality to be shown through my clothing assemblages. I consider this project to be reflective of my core personal style, which has remained more or less the same for most of my life.

In some of my earliest memories, I was captivated by images from sci-fi or 70s glam/funk. Then, when MTV began, there was this predominant, futurist aesthetic, and this has become the lens through which I view most things in the world. Rock stars dressed like they were from outer space. Michael Jackson had his clothes specially made for him, and I always thought that’s what I ultimately wanted for myself.

The happiest periods of my life have coincided with a self-confidence to dress exactly as I truly am, while the unhappier, self-conscious periods had me awkwardly trying to fit in with the current fashions for the “everyman”.

When I was invited to take part in this project and I was asked about my ideal uniform, my mind immediately jumped to stored mental images of Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Captain EO, and Star Wars. As I researched this idea, I discovered that the Captain EO suit may have been influenced by a Commodores album sleeve/stage costume, so I used that as a basis for my uniform design.

Though my current occupation doesn’t exactly lend itself to the daily wearing of an intergalactic space uniform, I’d like to instead mold my livelihood around this design.

Bio Terence Swafford is a painter, photographer, and historic renovator. He has found ways of applying his core RISD training, which is based in critical thinking/ critical making, to everything he does.

In recent years, he co-founded the Logan Square Comfort Station and the art group, Bastardo Experiment.

His politically-driven mural collaborations with Josh Crow were featured prominently in the Milwaukee Arts Festival of 2011, the Chicago Pride Parade of 2010, 11, and 13, as well as long- running stint at Revolution Brewing. He is most often described as intense. Examples of work can be seen on these websites:




Photo by Alix Lambert, Artwork by Damon Locks

Pattern & Sewing  by Jamie Hayes/Production Mode


Sketch by Jamie Hayes


Commodores reference photo

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